WASHINGTON — The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) announced that André Borschberg, one of the pilots and co-developer of the Solar Impulse solar-powered aircraft, will deliver the keynote address during the Opening Session of the 2015 Polyurethanes Technical Conference on Oct. 5 in Orlando.
The aircraft, known as Solar Impulse 2, is the only solar-powered aircraft in the world that can fly day and night with a pilot on board. It’s covered in 17,248 solar cells to power four electric motors and propellers. Solar Impulse 2 is currently on the seventh leg of its voyage around the world, demonstrating that today’s lightweight, durable and energy-efficient polyurethane technologies can be harnessed to achieve new milestones and set new records.
Borschberg is at the command for this leg, which will be the first time Solar Impulse 2 attempts to cross an ocean. The aircraft will travel from Asia to Hawaii, testing the endurance and resilience of both the pilot and the plane. This first-of-its-kind aviation adventure will attempt to be the longest solar-powered flight in duration ever flown, expected to last a minimum of five days and five nights.
“We are excited to have Mr. Borschberg share his experience and the innovative role that polyurethanes play in this project, and I am grateful to CPI member Solvay for its support of this keynote presentation,” said Lee Salamone, senior director of CPI.
Borschberg, a former Swiss Air Force pilot and the Solar Impulse co-founder and CEO, shares piloting duties with Swiss aviation pioneer, researcher and psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard, who is Solar Impulse’s initiator and chairman. Piccard will build on Borschberg’s experience and fly the eighth leg from Hawaii to Phoenix. The two also piloted Solar Impulse 1 (the prototype for Solar Impulse 2) across the United States in 2013.
The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft prominently features several types of specially designed polyurethanes. A polyurethane foam plays a critical role in insulating the pilot and batteries against temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. A composite polyurethane fiber material is used for the cockpit doors and locks.
Products using the same technology highlighted on Solar Impulse 2 may soon be used in the automotive and refrigeration industries to deliver the similar insulation benefits to consumers.
Solar Impulse and the 2015 Polyurethanes Technical Conference
The 2015 Polyurethanes Technical Conference features 16 sessions and more than 65 papers with topics spanning everything from cutting-edge polyurethanes technologies and chemistry-focused technical discussions to big-picture analysis of industry trends. The Polyurethanes Technical Conference remains a benchmark for the industry’s top technical discussions and presentations.
“The Polyurethanes Technical Conference is a great showplace for polyurethane technology and the benefits of polyurethane products. The Solar Impulse project is a great fit for this event — the longest-running and most innovative polyurethanes conference in North America,” said Lisa Norton, Solvay’s global sales and marketing manager.
Additional events at the conference include CPI’s Polyurethane Professional Development Program, the Industry Reception, the Table Top Exhibition, the Polyurethane Innovation Award and the pre-conference workshop on environmental, health and safety issues relative to diisocyanates.
At the conclusion of this year’s conference, CPI will unveil the 2014 End-Use Market Survey on the polyurethanes industry in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The survey provides a breakdown of polyurethane production by type and by major end-use market for each country over a two-year period, as well as historic trends, market drivers and key issues.
For more information, visit the conference website.